- Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, recently released a 'personal for' (P4) message to leaders under their purview to address how poor judgment and destructive behavior by Navy personnel is unacceptable and negatively impacting warfighting readiness.
In the message, Haney and Gortney directed commanders to get more actively involved in preventing destructive behavior by ensuring their Sailors are aware of, and abide by, the rules of conduct established by the Navy Ethos. The goal is that every Sailor, down to the deckplate level, makes a commitment to recognize potential problems and have the courage to intervene before bad behavior occurs.
"It is the responsibility of every commander to make sure their Sailors are properly representing the U.S. Navy regardless of where they are or what they are doing," the message read.
There were 496 sexual assaults reported in fiscal 2012, more than half involving alcohol. Because of these types of incidents, the Navy held a focused Sexual Assault Awareness campaign in April during National Sexual Assault Awareness month. The Navy has also implemented more training programs aimed at educating and encouraging Sailors to speak out against these crimes.
Warfighting readiness is predicated on the relationships forged between Sailors and with partners. One instance of poor personal judgment in the workplace or on liberty can put these crucial relationships and readiness at risk.
"Our warfighting strategy relies in part on the willingness of host nations to provide our forces access to their ports," Haney and Gortney wrote in their message. "To support this mission area, our Sailors must be exemplary ambassadors of our Navy and our nation."
In conjunction with the release of the P4 message, U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief John Minyard addressed Sailors from Navy Region Hawaii. During two separate calls with junior and senior enlisted personnel, Minyard emphasized the opportunity for all Sailors to be leaders in preventing shipmates from making poor decisions.
"We have to own good order and discipline within our commands, at every level of leadership, and I believe we can do that," Minyard said. "You need to know your people, you need to lead your people, and you need to be involved in their decisions.
"Every Sailor, E-1 thru O-10, has a responsibility to look out for the safety of each other and to always hold themselves to the highest levels of accountability for their actions at home and abroad," he said. "If we start having the moral courage to step in and stop destructive behavior before it occurs, we can eliminate these incidents."
The Admirals closed with that for 237 years the U.S. Navy has been a global force for good and that our conduct shapes our ability to posture forces forward, to be ready, and to fight and win when required.
"We must strive to eradicate sexual assaults and other destructive behavior by identifying problems and intervening early," they wrote. "Respect for others is fundamental to our character and part of our ethos."